Partisan vitriol must be removed from our school building committees. It does not build schools; it only delays what our parents and children deserve. Committees need to be less about tactics and more about honesty and transparency. Common sense principles should be put above political or personal gain.
Certain appointed town officials are politically driven. They all too often put their political biases, allegiances, and friendships above the betterment of the community. In this case, the completion of a school building project.
One month ago, the BET passed the largest budget in town history (almost half a billion dollars) and some still think it is insufficient. There will always be a segment of the population who wants more spending. We cannot dictate policy based upon these individuals and groups.
Parents, by and large, want Central Middle School built for the generous $70 million the BET passed. Try telling most hard-working tax payers in this town that $70 million is not enough to build a middle school. Is that the message some on the CMS building committee and the BoE want to roll forward with? GPS Administrators speak of the “team model,” the 660-student number (200 over expert enrollment projections, see graph below) accounts for that model. The ed-specs are still around 124k sq ft though. That is a huge number for even the 660-student number. The town does not need a vacuous, supersized middle school.
The BoE dropped the ball big-time when it shoved through the flawed ed-specs last August. They held the vote when Republicans Karen Kowalski and Michael Joseph Mercanti-Anthony were on vacation. Mr. Kittle admittedly relied too heavily on the expertise of CSG in creating the ed-specs. The Chairman, Joe Kelly, abstained. BoE Democrats have refused to substantially reduce the scale and scope of the project despite Chairman Kelly’s repeated attempts to broker a “compromise”.
Seventy million dollars ($70M) should be plenty to build a beautiful new school for CMS students to enjoy for years to come. We want it done sooner than later. We do not believe the project should be held up for political capital in an election year. That does a complete disservice to residents and their children.
On Friday April 21st , CMS Building Committee Chairman Tony Turner and Vice Chair Clare Kilgallen went to a CMS PTA Board meeting and tasked them with a strategy to organize and mobilize parents with the message that CMS needs more money to be built. It is highly inappropriate for Building committee members to engage in lobbying activities, especially with a 501(c)3 organization like the PTA. This lobbying of parents with propaganda, like what we saw at the dog and pony show posing as a BET public hearing, only takes away from town progress. It delays projects. It hurts the community. It divides neighbors. Not to mention, why would a committee chair want to raise the budget before getting a bid? That is irresponsible and incompetent. Either way, a terrible strategy for a Building Committee chair. These individuals need to step down, step aside and let project-oriented members take over.
The Democrat spokesman for Greenwich is State Rep. Steve Meskers. He goes on endless social media rants and recently called Republicans “a miserable group who hates our kids.” He doubles down on this rhetoric by repeating it on other posts. That is a huge problem and he should be held publicly accountable for his repeated actions: especially since he is the voice of Democrat agendas at
our RTM meetings and BET public hearings, not to mention a Greenwich Representative in Hartford.
On a personal note, I have been involved with this RTC for almost a year and a half. All the anger, spite and rhetoric spewed at it is completely misguided. Everyone I have encountered through the RTC has been nothing but kind, welcoming, community-oriented, family driven, hard-working, fully supportive of high-quality education, fiscal responsibility, local zoning, protecting their homes and keeping safe communities. There is not anything about this RTC that fits the narratives of the handful of naysayers: even the naysayers who put the disclaimer of “I am a Republican” immediately before or after they make a statement. Those people should be the ones rethinking their alliances, not us. Fight the nonsense with common sense. Join us.
For too long Republicans have taken the position of duck, hide and hope everything blows over. That is not us.
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